Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Checkers Survive Phantoms' Comeback for Split of Weekend Series

December 3, 2022 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Lehigh Valley Phantoms News Release

Lehigh Valley Phantoms take on the Charlotte Checkers
Lehigh Valley Phantoms take on the Charlotte Checkers
(Lehigh Valley Phantoms)

Charlotte, NC - The Lehigh Valley Phantoms shook off a hot start by the Charlotte Checkers but their comeback efforts fell short in the end as the hosts took a 6-4 victory on Saturday night to split the two-game weekend series. Lehigh Valley had prevailed in the opener on Friday 3-2.

Elliot Desnoyers had just pulled the Phantoms back to within one goal with his drive to the net with just 3:48 curling the puck around the goalie Mack Guzda. He was open in front for a 6-on-4 try with 1:30 left and a chance to equalize but Guzda stuffed him. The Checkers eventually sealed the win with an empty-netter.

Tyson Foerster (6th), Adam Brooks (2nd), Jackson Cates (5th) and Elliot Desnoyers (8th) all found the back of the net for the Phantoms. Three of Lehigh Valley's goals were on the power play.

The Atlantic Division rivals engaged in several spirited scarps and skirmishes in the second of four games between the Phantoms and Checkers in barely over a week. Some of the bad blood could potentially carry over to the rematches at PPL Center on December 9 and 10.

Lehigh Valley (9-8-2) fell behind in the first period on goals for former Phantom Gerry Mayhew (4th) and Logan Hutsko (6th) beating goalie Sam Ersson. But the Phantoms surged back to even the score.

Tyson Foerster struck from the left slot on the power play when the Checkers left him open on the backdoor. Taking the feed from Jackson Cates, Foerster converted to the upper-90 on the far side past the glove of Guzda to get the Phantoms on the board at 8:47 into the game. Kieffer Bellows also assisted on the play as the newly acquired forward registered a point in his first-ever game with Lehigh Valley.

Bellows almost struck for a goal of his own on the deflection of a point-shot by Louie Belpedio but his first-period opportunity dinged off the post.

The Phantoms tied the score on another power-play goal, this time by Adam Brooks with 1:44 remaining in the second period. The talented forward also scored from the left slot on the power play to make it back-to-back games with a goal in his first games back in six weeks since his injury in the second game of the season on October 16 at Hershey.

Charlotte broke the deadlock late in the second period with a pair of goals in the final six minutes of the middle frame. Henry Bowlby (3rd) and Grigori Denisenko both scored against Sam Ersson to push the Checkers' lead to 4-2.

The Phantoms scored in the opening minute of the third period with Jackson Cates taking control of a rebound of Ronnie Attard's shot that was blocked by Zac Dalpe. While falling across from the top of the right circle, Cates connected beautifully with the upper-right corner to again pull the Phantoms within a goal.

But a shot in the slot by Lukas Carlsson less than three minutes later again pushed the margin to two as the Checkers made it 5-3.

Desnoyers got the Phantoms within a goal yet again with his neutral-zone faceoff with 3:42 left on the power play. He drove up the left wing and then took it to the net and curled the key goal around the netminder for an impressive tally to make the score 5-4. Cal O'Reilly's second assist of the game gives him 543 for his career, just one away from Jody Gage for seventh all-time in AHL history. The productive weekend with three points gives the Phantoms captain 694 points on his career as he inches closer to the 700-Point Club.

Desnoyers had an open chance out in front at 6-on-4 but shortly after he was denied came Anthony Bittetto's shorthanded empty-netter to finish the night and seal the victory for the Checkers in a see-saw and wild 6-4 verdict.

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms conclude their three-game road sojourn on Wednesday evening at the Hartford Wolf Pack. The Phantoms return to PPL Center with a pair of rematch engagements with the Charlotte Checkers on Friday, December 9 and Saturday, December 10.


1st 4:51 - CLT G. Mayhew (4) (L. Hutsko, C. Tierney) (PP) 0-1

1st 7:42 - CLT L. Hutsko (6) (C. Tierney, L. Carlsson) 0-2

1st 8:47 - LV T. Foerster (6) (J. Cates, K. Bellows) (PP) 1-2

1st 18:16 - LV A. Brooks (2) (C. O'Reilly, C. Marody) (PP) 2-2

2nd 14:00 - CLT H. Bowlby (3) (R. Nash, G. Mayhew) 2-3

2nd 18:01 - CLT G. Denisenko (3) (D. Cesana, A. Bittetto) 2-4

3rd 0:46 - LV J. Cates (5) (R. Attard, T. Foerster) 3-4

3rd 3:33 - CLT L. Carlsson (3) (G. Denisenko, Z. Dalpe) (PP) 3-5

3rd 16:18 - LV E. Desnoyers (8) (L. Belpedio, C. O'Reilly) (PP) 4-5

3rd 18:55 - CLT A. Bittetto (a) (R. Nash) (EN, SH) 4-6


LV 37 - CLT 36


LV 3/4, CLT 2/5


LV - S. Ersson (L) (30/35) (6-6-1)

CLT - M. Guzda (W) (33/37) (5-2-2)


Lehigh Valley (9-8-2)

Charlotte (12-6-3)


Wednesday, December 7 (7:00) at Hartford Wolf Pack

Friday, December 9 (7:05) vs. CHARLOTTE CHECKERS

Saturday, December 10 (7:05) vs. CHARLOTTE CHECKERS

Friday, December 16 (7:05) at Providence Bruins

Saturday, December 17 (7:05) vs. PROVIDENCE BRUINS

Images from this story

Lehigh Valley Phantoms' Ronnie Attard battles Grigori Denisenko of the Charlotte Checkers
Lehigh Valley Phantoms' Ronnie Attard battles Grigori Denisenko of the Charlotte Checkers

Lehigh Valley Phantoms on game day
Lehigh Valley Phantoms on game day

Lehigh Valley Phantoms take on the Charlotte Checkers
Lehigh Valley Phantoms take on the Charlotte Checkers

• Discuss this story on the American Hockey League message board...

American Hockey League Stories from December 3, 2022

The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

Other Recent Lehigh Valley Phantoms Stories

Sports Statistics from the Stats Crew
OurSports Central